When I first started blogging, one of my main focuses was on “being content.” Perhaps it was the season in my life, but I found that people around me, as a general rule, struggled with accepting the life that God had given them – and even more so – rejoicing in the life God had given them. Contentedness is not something that comes easy in a culture that tells us that we constantly need more stuff, more relationships, and more, more, more. Yet while it’s easy to blame the absence of contentedness on society, the truth is that the real culprit lies in the human heart. We aren’t discontent because a marketing message tells us we shouldn’t be (although it’s possible for that to fuel it); there’s another reason. If we aren’t God’s children, we aren’t content because we don’t have Him. If we are His kids, and we aren’t content, it’s because we don’t appreciate that because we have Him, there is nothing else that we need.
The ironic thing is that it’s hard to tell whether you find your contenedness in God until it’s tested. When things that you relied on or people that you counted on are taken away, you begin to understand whether contendness is found in them or in God. When dreams are shattered, when plans don’t work out as you intended, and when the future seems completely uncertain, and you are still hopefully confident because you know that God is on your side, that’s true contentment. Contentment is easy when things are as expected; it’s harder when life has ceased to be predictable.
Yet we can see from Scripture that contentment in Christ can cause unlikely things to bring fulfillment. In 2 Corinthians 12:10, Paul writes:
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Dictionary.com says that being content means “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else. ” So Paul not only accepted his weakness, his trials, and his persecutions, he was satisfied with them. He didn’t want anything else than what God had allowed in his life. And if God had allowed these things, he would be satisfied with them, because he knew that through them, God was doing a work.
In the midst of the hard times, it is difficult to see how God is working. We don’t understand the reason for the challenges, the heartache and the pain. In our minds, there is a much easier path to get to where we are going. And perhaps there is. But God is doing something with the path that we’re on. If, for His sake, we are willing to be satisfied with the things He has allowed in our life, we can expect that He will do great things with them. And that’s a reason to be content.